Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Main Street Cinderella

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It’s not every house in Mendocino that can have a complicated evolution and been occupied by a genuine town “character,” but 44771 Main St. deserves note. Today it’s an old yellow house east of Alegria Inn, next to a realty office and across the street from Evergreen Cemetery on the east end of town. In the Kelley House Museum records, it’s called the Ferrill House. It’s a vacation house being worked on. It’s got the name Rueckert, Wallace, Ferrill and more[... see full page]

Big River Enumerators

Big River Enumerators
Last week I did my citizen’s duty and completed my response to the 2020 Census using just my phone, while sitting on the sofa. So easy. It took less than 10 minutes. I enumerated myself. This got me thinking about how counting everybody correctly used to be a really hard thing to do. And who, I wondered, did the enumeration back then? Whoever they were, the people who agreed to spend a month or two riding on horses all over[... see full page]

The Great Flu of 1918 in Mendocino County

The Great Flu of 1918 in Mendocino County
[first published in May 2015] Postcard photograph of the Domestic Steam Laundry’s delivery automobile piled high with bags of laundry, c. 1918 in Fort Bragg. An unidentified man stands next to the car. The laundry offered free washes during the influenza epidemic in 1918 for those who were too sick to do it. (Jeanette Mendosa Hansen Collection, Kelley House Museum) For fascinating reading or listening there is “The Great Influenza” by John Barry. It’s available from the County Library and provides hours[... see full page]

Plot to Steal the County Seat

Plot to Steal the County Seat
On the 16th of February 1871, a group of Mendocino VIPs launched a determined effort to steal the county seat away from Ukiah. Portrait of William Heeser in the regalia of the Masonic Order of Knights Templar, c. 1900. (from the Biage Quattrocchi Collection, Kelley House Museum) Beacon newspaperman William Heeser was among those present and may even have called the meeting. We don’t know who else was on hand, since files of the Beacon’s predecessor, the Independent Dispatch, are incomplete and[... see full page]

Lost Homes of the Mendocino Headlands

Lost Homes of the Mendocino Headlands
Residence of Mr. Freundt, City of Mendocino (1863), looking north-northeast. This is a copy of a Carleton Watkins image found in the Bancroft Library. Not long after Mendocino was founded, the men who built and owned the Big River sawmill went back east to New England and brought their families here to live. While many of the merchants in town resided above their stores, the people associated with running the mill constructed their houses on the south side of Main Street[... see full page]

Carol Dominy

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